Rumor has it none of us are going anywhere for a while. So whether you’re watching YouTube videos of the ocean, floating on a pool of existential dread, or increasingly reminding your quarantine family that it’s five o’clock somewhere, let these songs soundtrack the delusion that you’re on vacation anywhere other than your apartment.
Jidenna, “Vaporiza” (2019)
“Vaporiza,” a highlight from Jidenna’s second studio album, 85 to Africa, sounds like every hue of sunlight between the American Southeast and Nigeria. It’s a love letter inked in Afropop sounds that results in an impossibly sunny song.
Miguel, “Waves (Tame Impala Remix)” (2016)
The opening harmonies are a siren song you can’t ignore. Add the Tame Impala touch, and you’re left with a kaleidoscope of sound, with as many colors as light refracting on water. You’re completely lost in the synth waves.
Surf Mesa feat. Emilee, “Ily” (2020)
This electronic remake of Frankie Valli’s classic “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” is a lullaby best accompanied by the rocking of a hammock. It’s no surprise that this earworm of a song gained popularity on TikTok. And since you’re home, maybe you could make a TikTok of your own?
Popcaan feat. Drake and PartyNextDoor, “Twist & Turn” (2020)
We know this: Mr. Graham can and will make a summer bop. Along with “All I Need,” this song appears on Popcaan’s new dancehall mixtape FIXTAPE, and it’s the latest part of a longstanding collaboration between Drake and the Jamaican hitmaker.
Nao, “Drive and Disconnect” (2018)
Nao’s directives are simple: drive and disconnect. The self proclaimed “wonky funk” artist sings “I guess, I guess, I guess,” giving her signature breezy sense of unbotheredness. Here’s hoping we round the corner of the pandemic with the wind in our hair soon.
Burna Boy, “Ye” (2018)
With all the energy of an “I can’t hear you” crossed with “I’ll get to it later,” this song screams out-of-office. As the Nigerian singer-songwriter repeats “Yeah” an impressive 43 times over an Afro-fusion beat, lean further and further back in your beach chair.
Major Lazer feat. Nicki Minaj & PartyNextDoor, “Run Up” (2017)
This flirty dance song sounds like the ice cream truck arriving on a hot day — if that melody was played with a xylophone. The EDM trio paired with Nicki Minaj and PartyNextDoor for this catchy handclap game of a song, though kids probably shouldn’t sing that line about harmonicas.
Mura Masa feat. A$AP Rocky, “Love$ick” (2017)
This one doesn’t sound like the beach. But it’s an alt-R&B hit with that heat-wave-bouncing-off-of-concrete New York City summer vibe. You can almost feel the rooftop party where too many people are reaching for the aux, almost interrupting the iconic “I need you/I want you” chorus. And if it were the summer of 2015, your Instagram feed would definitely still be flooded with those popsicles in prosecco glasses.
Kali Uchis feat. Jorja Smith, “Tyrant” (2018)
Kali Uchis and Jorja Smith spin a looping fever dream with steamy vocals about passing flings. Dropped in a tropical soundscape, it’s the kind of distraction we could all use.
Koffee, “Toast” (2019)
It’s impossible not to replay this tune from everyone’s favorite singjay. The back-and-forth between the island-rocking chorus and the cutting verse builds into the ultimate release of positive vibes.
Kendrick Lamar feat. Jay Rock, “Money Trees” (2012)
From 2012’s iconic good kid, m.A.A.d city, this song puts us in a car with all the windows down driving the a b s o l u t e minimum speed to catch a breeze. Kendrick reminds us that sometimes the best place to escape the heat is in the shade of a tree full of money.
DJ Snake, J Balvin, and Tyga, “Loco Contigo” (2019)
Though it dropped on DJ Snake’s birthday, this reggaeton/EDM/hip-hop smoothie was actually a summer gift to us all. It’s the perfect song to remind you of the crowded, maskless club nights of yesteryear.
Outkast, “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” (1998)
This song is thick, and not in an internet-cute two-Cs kind of way. It’s humidity. It’s the staccato of a card stuck in an oscillating fan on a porch that just won’t cool down. It fits the reality that we are not going anywhere, so we might as well sit back, relax and listen to one of the most frequently sampled horn lines in music. As Andre 3000 sings “Damn, damn, damn, damn,” I do wonder…how did we get here?